NORTH Coast Bulldogs will head into the 2020 under-23 country championships without a trial match after their fixture scheduled for February 8 was washed out.
Unfortunately, the cancellation means the team won't be able to benefit from a pre-season program that had them set to take on Canterbury's NSWRL team at Forster.
Co-coach Dan Kemp said it would have been a benefit for them to have a trial going into the country championships regardless of who they were playing.
But that's not to be.
"To have a genuine trial against good opposition would have been a real bonus because it's not something we've had the last few years," he said.
"Everyone else is in the same boat and that was going to be an advantage we had on the rest of the sides, but we don't have it now."
It now appears their first game as a unit will be an opening round clash in March.
We've just come into February so hopefully they take it upon themselves to start working harder and we need to keep working them hard to get them fit for round one.Dan Kemp
"With (Canterbury's) program for the pre-season, there's likely to be no room to fit the trial in again later," Kemp said.
It was now up to Kemp along with fellow coach Matt Shipway to "ram home" things at training, starting with fitness.
"At the moment, as it stands as a collective they're not fit enough, but that's due to the time of year it is," Kemp said.
"We've just come into February so hopefully they take it upon themselves to start working harder and we need to keep working them hard to get them fit for round one."
The first round of the Country Championships will be held in Newcastle on March 7.
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